Thread Count Explained
Thread Count is the number of threads per square inch in the woven fabric of your Combed Ring Spun Cotton, CVC or Polyester-cotton; most commonly used for bed sheets, pillow cases and duvets covers.
Are Highest Thread Counts really the best when choosing a new sheet set?
These are questions most companies simply don’t want you to know or ask.
Thread Count, and its determination, is actually one of the biggest and most confusing issues today for consumers. While Consumer Reports has done an excellent job of monitoring Bedding products and trends, certain specifics have remained unanswered.
What’s the difference between cotton and linen?
Natural fibers fall into two main groups: protein fibers, which come from animals, and vegetable fibres which come from plants. The main ingredient in all vegetable fibres is cellulose, a carbohydrate found in all plant life. Both cotton and linen are vegetable fibers. Linen is made from the flax plant; cotton is made from the cotton plant.
How to Pick the Perfect Towel
Bath towels are typically the hardest working members of your hotel or Villa. As well as keeping us dry and clean, towels add to the look and feel of a bathroom and can even be expected to wipe up muddy floors. When shopping for towels it is important to avoid choosing a towel from touch alone. Here are tips for finding high-quality towels and knowing how the GSM of a towel can play a vital part in the selection process.
When shopping it is important not to judge a towel by its in-store softness. Most manufacturers add softeners to the towels so they appear nice and soft. However after a few washes, these towels may start to feel course and rough.
The number and the length of loops is also an important factor in choosing the right towel. The denser the loops, the more absorbent the towel will be so check the stitch for thick, tightly packed loops. If however you can see the base of the towel, then this is an indicator of a poor quality towel.
The best way to judge the quality of a towel is to hold it. A high quality towel feels much heavier than it looks and in turn will be much more absorbent. The weight of a towel is measured by the GSM (Grams per Square Metre). Low GSM (300-400) towels are light and thin whilst high GSM (440-650) towels are thicker and heavier. A towel that weighs less than 440 GSM is likely to be thin and typically suitable for a gym bag or trips to the beach.
How to care for your towels
- We recommend that your new towel purchase should be washed before use.
- Always follow the washing instructions placed on the label of the towel.
- If there is a stray pulled loop on the towel, cut off with a pair of scissors. This will not cause any damage to the towel.
- Hotel Contract Linen suggest using detergent specifically for colored towels and to avoid brightening detergents as this will affect the towel color.
- Hotel Contract Linen Towels can be washed at 95ºC.
- A harsh texture to towels and bathrobes and an off-white color are signs of bleach damage. It is best to avoid bleaching agents when washing towels.
- Bathroom detergents and some beauty products such as cleansers contain bleaching agents and may cause permanent discoloration to your towel.
- Washing too hot can cause the bars on the towels to shrink.
- Fabric conditioner will reduce the absorbency of the towel, as it coats the yarn of the towel making it less efficient.
- Do not dry clean towels.
- Equipment must be free of sharp edges as they may snag and cause pulls/damage to the table cloths.
- If using a washing machine with preset programs use a program with cool down.
- Washing Equipment must have properly functioning water level and temperature controls.
- Powder or chemical feed systems must be functioning properly.
- Detergent must not contain softener.
- Do not use Chlorine bleach on colors only use color safe oxy bleaches.
- Drying equipment must have properly functioning temperature and cool-down controls.
- Lint screens on dryers must be cleaned daily.
- Standard operating procedure should include periodic inspections of the above listed requirements.
Processing Requirements: 100% Polyester Table linens
- All new linen should be washed separately prior to use to remove any manufacturing residual dye. Colors and product should not be mixed on this initial wash.
- Subsequent wash cycles, similar colors/shades (e.g. white, medium, dark,) can be washed together (see below).
- All table cloth linen must be shaken out to ensure debris (e.g. food and sharp objects) are not loaded into the washer.
- All polyester table cloths should be washed separately from 100% cotton and polycotton blends, as loose fibers from cotton and ●polycotton blends can deposit lint onto the polyester linens. Use synthetic wash cycle/process (maximum 50° C for normal soiling), cool tumble dry, warm iron if required.
- For heavily soiled items, wash temperatures can be increased to a maximum of 60° C but will require a gradual cool down. Step down temperature by 5° C increments or less until load is at 45° C as thermal shock may occur if load is cooled down rapidly.
Typical Wash Program For 100% Polyester Table Linen For Semi Industrial Washing Machines
- Load washers up to 80% of rated capacity.
- Avoid use of any softeners or bacteria stats in the wash as these will mask the absorbency of the fabric.
- Do not use chlorine bleach on colored table linen, only use oxygen release bleach.
- The use of sours will assist the removal of residual chemicals and assist any starching required. Do not use P.V.A. starch; only use natural starch.
- For heavily soiled items, wash temperatures can be increased to a maximum of 60° C but will require a gradual cool down. Step down temperature by 5° C increments or less until load is at 45° C as thermal shock may occur if load is cooled down to rapidly.
Glossary of Textile Terms
Made from Bamboo grass, Bamboo fibre has a velvety soft texture and a lustrous appearance that dyes well. Usually blended with cotton, bamboo towels are naturally anti-bacterial and mildew-resistant. Because the bamboo plant is highly sustainable, fast-growing and doesn’t require pesticides, this fiber is also an environmentally friendly choice.
A term applied to a yarn or fabric that is made up of more than one fiber or two different yarns are twisted or spun together. In textile rental the most common blended yarns are cotton/polyester.
This is an additional step beyond carding where fine brushes are used to pull out any remaining impurities. Approximately 15% of the volume is removed leaving behind only long straight fibers. The texture of combed cotton is softer because it lacks short fibers to stick out. Combed cotton is also stronger because weaker fibers have been removed. As the combing process removes volume and adds a step in the process the resulting textile will be slightly more costly.
A natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of a cotton plant. Fibers are usually ½” to 2″ inches long.
A rich, glossy fabric usually woven with a variety of elaborate, jacquard patterns, which are flat and reversible. Mainly found in draperies, tablecloths, napkins and upholstery.
A decorative weave on a bath, beach or kitchen towel, characterized by small, usually geometric patterns that are woven into the fabric. Standard dobby borders are typically flat and fine.
Produces plain weave cloth or geometric, stripes etc.
Needlework used to enrich textile fabrics, leather, etc.; also, the art of embroidering.
Grams per square meter
In fabrics, jacquard is a design created by weaving differently colored threads together.
Joseph Jacquard invented this decorative weaving technique in 1804. A special loom is used to weave a pattern directly into the fabric.
A Jacquard loom makes it possible to control each warp thread so that each and every warp end can be raised or lowered at will to form an intricate design. Originally controlled by a punched card system sometimes called the first computer, today the loom is fed by computer generated information that eliminates the cards, making design changes faster and more efficient.
Jacquard is characterized as a pattern woven into a fabric; either a surface effect, or a pattern produced with colored yarns.
A machine used for weaving
Optical Color Mixing Method
novel method of preparing a recipe for the reproduction of a particular color on a coloring material from a number of coloring agents or dyes, which comprises passing white light rays through a number of optical filtering means, controlling filtration characteristics of the filtering means to correspond to spectral distribution characteristics of the dyes, projecting on the coloring material the light rays which have passed through the filtering means to produce a monitoring color thereon, and modulating wavelength and amplitude outputs of the filtering means until the monitoring color simulates the particular color. The method precludes the complicated task of evaluating color affecting factors such as surface texture of the coloring material and eliminates the need for repeated coloring tests.
A tangled ball of fibers that appear on the surface of a fabric as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing of the surface of the cloth.
A blend of polyester and cotton
A manufactured fibre derived from coal, air water and petroleum. Polyester fibers are formed from a chemical reaction between acid and alcohol.
A type of fabric weave that creates a soft, smooth, lustrous surface. This finish is usually added to fabrics like cotton in products like shirts, sheets, draperies and upholstery.
A traditional fabric with a silky, lustrous finish. The fabric’s long, interlaced yarns have no visible pattern, which creates a smooth, shiny surface. Used to make women’s apparel and sheets.
Warp and weft usually shrink at different rates. An average cotton product will shrink 6 -8% after washing at high temperature. Lower washing at 30/40ºC will cause less shrinkage
Warp yarns are coated with a sizing compound or starch mixture before weaving. The reason is to make the yarn smoother and stronger to withstand the strain of weaving. It can also increase fabric weight.
The quality of bed linen is often conveyed by the thread count (TC)
It is calculated by counting the number of threads per square inch of the fabric in both directions. The number of threads is the total of threads in the warp is added to the number of threads in the weft. (i.e. 110 x 90) = 200TC
Twist refers to the number of twists per inch of yarn. The lower the amount of twist in a yarn, the more plush the towel will be. A higher twist adds strength and uniformity to a yarn, resulting in a more durable, substantial feeling towel. Low- or zero-twist fabric can only be constructed from longer staple cotton yarn.
A dye, such as indigo, that produces a fast color by impregnating fiber with a reduced soluble form that is then oxidized to an insoluble form. The process “vat dyeing” refers to dyeing in a bucket or vat. It can be performed whenever a liquid, even shade over the entire garment is desired. Almost any dye can be used. “Vat dyes” are a special class of dyes that work with a special chemistry.
A water-insoluble dye that is applied by reducing the dye to an alkaline form, applying the dye, then regenerating the insoluble dye by oxidation in the material; used for dyeing cotton
Yarns are usually graded using a number 16’s 18’s 20’s 24’s 30’s 40’s 60’s. The higher the number the finer the yarn. Individual yarns can be twisted together. Two finer yarns twisted together in spinning are stronger than one thick yarn. This is called ‘two fold yarns’.
A dyeing process where yarns are immersed in a coloring solution and then woven or knitted to make fabric. The colours of yarn-dyed garments stay brighter, longer.